The Four: Battle for a Superstar Week 2 airs tonight on FOX. Musician, record producer and songwriter Sean “Diddy” Combs, record-producing hitmaker DJ Khaled, Recording artist and songwriter Meghan Trainor and record label executive Charlie Walk will sit on the show’s “panel of experts.” Pop star Fergie has been tapped to serve as host.
Four artists, spanning all music genres, will fight each week to defend their coveted seats on the show, as determined newcomers challenge them and try to knock them out of the competition. The singer who is the last standing at the end of the competition will earn the ultimate prize: the panel of industry experts becomes key players on the winner’s team, along with a record contract and a lucrative spot as one of iHeartRadio’s On the Verge artists.
After last week’s elimination of Elanese Lansen, Blair Perkins. The four reigning artists this week are Alexis “Lex Lu” Boyd, Ash Minor, Zhavia and Saeed Renauo.
Ohhhh. It’s another group number. So this is how the show is gonna roll? The quartet cover “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue. Nineties pop goodness.
When Fergie introduces Charlie Walk she does the “walking fingers” with her hand. She CORNY. Diddy says, “We’ve seen some good performance. We need some GREAT PERFORMANCES.”
And the first challenger is…
Candice Boyd – 28 – “I’m Going Down” by Mary J. Blige – She’s a professional recording artist. Sounds like she’s done tons of backgrounds–Nicki Minaj, French Montana and more. She just left a record deal with Epic/Sony a few months ago. (!!!) She has a very sweet tone. “That’s soul right there,” says Diddy. She’s decent. Is she special? The jury is out on that. She hits a whistle note. She finishes, and the panel are on their feet. Diddy reminds the audience that he produced the original. “You did your thing with your rendition,” he says. Candace tears up! Once again…Meghan has NEVER BEEN SO affected by a performance (She said the same thing last week for another artist. Charlie calls her a star. “What a great start to the night.” Candace will need a unanimous vote to mount a challenge.
Panelists vote YES. Candace challenges…Ash Minor. Gee. I wonder if that was actually her decision? Ash is the only one of the original four not to be challenged yet.
Ash Minor – 32 – Los Angeles – Adorn by Miguel – FYI: He is originally from Australia and was a contestant on the country’s version of X Factor. He’s….OK. He has an interesting tone. He managed to put his own spin on the song. But he did not move me with that rendition. He’s not a dynamic performer–something is missing. Zhavia says he killed it, “I shed a little tear,” she says. The Four have been working together for a week. It’s no wonder they’re rooting for each other
Candice Boyd – Dangerous Woman by Ariana Grande – She’s a good singer. Not incredibly unique or charismatic…but good. She needed to challenge somebody closer to her style, though. The newbie guy, Saeed Renauo would have made sense.
Charlie believes Ariana would have been proud of her rendition. Meghan LOVED Ash. DJ felt Ash “secured the bag.” His catch phrases are so dumb. Charlie says the studio audience has to think like record executives when they vote. Good luck with that.
The audience vote split 55% vs 45% for Candace! Ash Minor is eliminated. Candace’s seat is locked for the night. Meghan is so upset Ash lost, that she’s tearing up.
Stevie Brock – 27 – North Hollywood – Sugar by Maroon 5 – He auditioned after watching the premiere. Once upon a time, he was signed to Johnny Wright’s label. He was a tween at the time. He loves SPARKLY outfits. Also PERMATANS. Just say no to the tanning table dude. “He looks like Ryan Seacrest,” says one of the Four. Camera cuts to Charlie and Diddy. STONE FACES. Now Diddy looks like he smelt something bad. Stevie is energetic, if a little muppety and fake–very karaoke. Meghan loved his falsetto, but not so much on the mid range. Charlie can’t figure out his brand. “I represent truth,” says Diddy. He calls him a fairly decent performance, but “not great.” “I was nervous,” Stevie confesses. “You can’t wear a glitter suit and come out her and say you’re nervous,” DJ says. Well. I think that’s a no. FOUR RED RINGS. Oof. “It looks good with the jacket,” says Fergie. After Stevie left the stage Charlie says: “He wouldn’t play at my daughters wedding.” Wow. COLD – Eliminated.
Only ONE of the original four remains. That’s Lex Lu.
Cheyenne Elliott – New York, NY – Wings by Little Mix – Charlie says she just walked on stage “like a boss.” She grew up in a very musical family. Oh. Her grandmother is Dionne Warwick, and cousin Whitney Houston. She’s in the audience. DIDDY LOSES HIS MIND. He stands up and bows profusely. Cut to a clip backstage as contestants flip out in her presence. Dionne is passing the baton to her granddaughter, she says. OK. Let’s get this out of the way. The genes didn’t really pass to this third generation. Cheyenne is a wholly unremarkable vocalist. She’s got no range and her phrasing is dull.
Paula Meghan calls the performance calls the performance “beautiful…I loved it.” Diddy feels compelled to tell her the truth, even with grandma Dionne sitting behind him: “You have to make everything you sing your favorite part….I have to believe you all the way.”
Four Yeses. OH COME ON. If it weren’t for her heritage, she wouldn’t even be standing on that stage. Cheyenne challenges…Lex Lu. BYE GIRL. Cannon Fodder.
Lex Lu – Bad and Boujee by Migos – Last week, she defended her seat successfully, but Diddy and Khaled were critical of her performance. She promises to bring her A-game rhymes this week. She name checks Diddy. Which he probably liked. Oh. She bleeped. She sounds out of breath. I think she’s kind of nervous. That performance lacked energy. Diddy notes that she stumbled on her words. DJ doesn’t think it mattered. Wrong, DJ. She was totally thrown off her game early in the performance
Cheyenne Elliott – Too Good at Goodbyes by Sam Smith – This is better than her first performance. The song gives her the opportunity to show range and dynamics. Total redemption.
Charlie got emotional hearing Cheyenne sing. Diddy talks about falling on his butt at Madison Square Garden. He felt Lex recovered from her gaffe…but it wasn’t her best.
Cheyenne Wins the Challenge. Lex Lu is eliminated. Wow. I thought Lex would last until the end. She couldn’t take the heat. Zhavia is disappointed. She thinks Cheyenne is talented, but Lex is a true artist. Lex realizes she blew it. “It’s brutal,” she says about not rising to the challenge. Making it worse–she was handed a fracking softball, and choked.
Coco Sarai – 28 – Brooklyn NY – Jealous by Labrinth – Currently, she teaches musical theater and vocals. Her mom sold drugs and was in and out of jail. After she was diagnosed with cancer, they became closer. She dedicates the song to her mom, who passed away. Her performance is a little dirge like? Her phrasing is weird, but that might be nerves. She’s so emotional, she can barely get through the song. That performance had its moments, but was uneven. “I believed every second,” says Meghan, “It was so beautiful.” Diddy thinks she has potential, but she’s not sure. Charlie got emotional listening to her–he battled thyroid cancer. He liked her a lot, but doesn’t think she’s better than the Four. OH NOES. Coco got ONE no. It was Charlie. Diddy does not agree, “Some things aren’t fair,” he says. I have to say–I agree with Charlie. – Eliminated.
Kayla Ember – Bad at Love by Halsey – 18 – St Petersburg FL – She comes from a big family. Her mom was a singer too. Before she takes the stage, she’s so nervous, she’s crying. She repeats over and over again as she heads to the stage, “I’m a bad bitch…” The panel gets a kick out of that. Her vocal is nasally, but probably could be fixed in the recording studio. Her stage presence could use some work too. She’s got potential. But–undercooked. DJ thinks she can sing, but it’s not enough. “Just because you’re a good singer, doesn’t qualify you as a superstar,” says Charlie. Diddy, on the other hand, thinks she’s got something to work with. Oh. The first ring was blue and then…3 red rings. Man, they were hard on her. I hope she handles it OK. She’s backstage sobbing. She’s determined to keep working at it. “You’re right where you’re supposed to be,” says her mom. – Eliminated.
Jason Warrior – 22 – Chicago Illinois – Love Me Now by John Legend – His dad ended up in jail and wasn’t around. He had to be a role model for his little brothers. I knew his name was familiar. He competed on The Voice season 11 in 2016. Check out his Blind Audition. He started on Team Alicia, was stolen by Team Adam in the Battles, by Team Blake in the Knockouts and finally eliminated in the Playoffs. I remember this guy. He’s got a great voice, but his performances are churchy and tend to go over the top. DJ says “When you got on your knees, I felt the pain, the passion the love. John Legend would be proud.” Charlie becomes annoyed when Diddy interrupts him. Where was he? Oh yeah: “This is the show I signed up for,” Charlie says. Diddy calls his performance “really real” and vulnerable. “My name is Jason Warrior for a reason,” he says. “IT’S TIME TO EAT.”
And of course, Jason gets four yeses. The panel thinks he should challenge Saeed. That would be easy. Zhavid would cream him. And wisely, Jason challenges Saeed. Diddy begins chanting EAT EAT EAT EAT. Dumb catchphrases continue to be dumb. Saeed, for his part, refuses to trash talk.
Saeed Renauo – Superstition by Stevie Wonder – He won a challenge from Blair Perkins last week. He promises to change the song up. But naw. He’s no Stevie. He puts a few nice runs in toward the end, but this is just a’ight.
Jason Warrior – Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. Jason opens his mouth, and I can already tell he’s gonna win. His song choice is more creative. The performance is energetic and modern, even if he could dial it back a few notches. RUNS FOR EVERYBODY. He’s back on his knees. The audience is eating this up. Meghan says she’s having the best time of her life! She’d pick Jason. The audience is chanting for him. “Saeed ain’t nothing to mess with,” says DJ. Charlie thinks Jason is “special.” Diddy asks the audience to “vote with your hearts.
And the winner….Fergie pulls a SEACREST. “We’ll find out after the break.” Jason Warrior Wins the Challenge. Saeed Renauo is eliminated. Fergie is all emotional. She had a soft spot for him, I guess. Jason’s seat is safe for the rest of the night, she says. Except the show is over. So.
Your NEW Four are: Zhavia, Candace Boyd, Cheyenne Elliott and Jason Warrior. Zhavia was the only singer to go unchallenged this week. Candace, Cheyenne, and Jason all won their challenges against reigning Four contestants. Additionally, all members of the original four have been eliminated.